In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the question of how to stay focused while working from home is on most of our minds.
There’s no denying working remotely has its perks: sleeping in, wearing comfy clothes all day, and surprise snuggles from our pets.
However, while working from home is a dream in many ways, it can be a nightmare when it comes to productivity. There are many unwelcome distractions that will lower your efficiency.
The main one is your phone. Of course, it’s tempting to check your Instagram, and respond to Snapchats from your friends and family, but all of that can wait until your lunch break or after work hours.
Also, while it may be nice to have Friends playing in the background, if my favorite episode comes on, it’s hard not to watch. And to all of the clean freaks out there (myself included) who use household chores as a distraction: yes, doing laundry counts!
The good news is you can boost productivity with a few small lifestyle shifts. Read on for five tips to turn your home office into a distraction-free zone.
Follow These 5 Tips to Help You Stay Focused While You Work From Home:
1. Create Your Work-Friendly Space
To set yourself up for success, make your home office similar to your work office. First, choose a room that’s well lit with windows that bring in a lot of natural light. If you’re sitting in a dark space, you will unconsciously feel sleepy and less alert.
Second, make sure your space is comfortable but not too comfortable. For example, it’s good to have a big desk area with a cushioned chair, and you can add a plant here and there, but don’t go crazy. We’re not looking to create a zen den with meditation pillows and candles.
Also, have all your office supplies nearby so you don’t use it as an excuse to leave the room. And if you really want to kick it up a notch, have a small coffee or tea station. The goal is to have everything you need on-hand so you are less likely to give in to distraction.
2. Start Early
When you commute to work, it helps you wake up and get mentally ready for the day ahead. At home, on the other hand, going from your pillow to your laptop isn’t the same type of transition.
One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity is to start working as soon as you wake up. In fact, the simple act of starting a project increases the likelihood that you will finish it.
If you sleep in, procrastinate and lounge around all morning, you’ll derail your progress. And science confirms that early birds are more productive than night owls.
3. Get Dressed
While conference calls in your PJs sound appealing, it may be hindering your productivity. There’s a reason why people say “dress for success” – and research shows what you wear affects how you feel.
The science of how clothes affect the psychology of the wearer is known as “enclothed cognition.”
Scientists Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky conducted experiments to examine the psychological effects of wearing a lab coat – clothing that’s associated with attentiveness. Interestingly, results showed participants who wore the lab coats did perform better than those who didn’t wear them.
“You have to wear the coat, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to influence your psychological processes,” says Dr. Galinsky.
So, if you want to work harder at home, put your pants on. Seriously.
4. Mimic Your Normal Work Day
What tasks do you usually do first at the office? If the new home office environment throws you off, it can be helpful to have something familiar to keep you anchored. If you’re concerned with how to stay focused while working from home, keep your routine the same.
At home, you are your own personal manager. In other words, it’s up to you to hold yourself accountable. Create a schedule and to make sure you stick to it. Put it into your Google calendar or write out a to-do list that you can check off as you go.
5. Reward Yourself
For example, if you have two projects to complete by the end the day, do something you enjoy after you finish the first one. This can be something as simple as going for a run or grabbing a snack.
Having something to look forward to can be that extra boost of motivation you need.
Set Yourself Up for Work-from-Home Success!
While distractions at home are inevitable, it’s up to you how you respond to them. Planning for success is key, and these tips will prevent you from getting sidetracked and keep you focused and productive while you work from home.
For additional tips, try these 7 Productivity Hacks for an Efficient, Fulfilling Workday